menu button


1930s Bakelite Box


A striking 1930s Bakelite casket-shaped box with lid.

Bakelite was the new modern material of the 1930s and was usually applied to contemporary designs. Here it has been press-moulded to make a traditional  antique style box that would have traditionally been made of wood. An experiment that didn't catch on - presumably because those that liked 'antiques' liked them made of wood. Nevertheless, this box demonstrates the experimentation that was taking place in the brave new world of the early twentieth century, as it embraced its new-found love: plastic.  This unique box is in a rich, dark bitter-chocolate brown, has a wonderful high-polish finish, and is in immaculate condition. 

History of Bakelite

In 1909, Belgian chemist Leo Baekland created the first entirely synthetic plastic, calling it Bakelite. Its properties were revolutionary for it was resistant to heat and didn’t conduct electricity, making it really good insulator, and therefore particularly useful to the automotive and electrical industries emerging at the time. Lightweight and durable; sleek and stylish; affordable and convenient; it could also be moulded into every shape imaginable; and the 1920s and 30s saw Bakelite embrace modernism, where it was used in jewelry, lamps, desk sets, clocks, radios, telephones, kitchenware, and all manner of everyday objects – such as this wonderful box.

Year of manufacture: c.1930

Origin: England 

Material: brown mottled Bakelite

Length 19.5cm Height 6.5cm Depth 9.5cm

Condition: excellent - no chips or cracks, all perfect